Hard Cider Battered Spaghetti Squash–Vegan and Gluten-Free–Recipe

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Spaghetti squash is often seen as a one trick pony. For carb counting dieters, it’s nature’s ready-made substitute for pasta. For the gluten-free, it’s nature’s ready-made substitute for pasta. It’s perpetually type-casted as a diet food or an imitation for pasta.

But it is so much more. I am always trying to find break out roles for this pigeon-holed veggie, and this is a damn good one. (And so not a diet food…)

I suppose spaghetti squash is a stand in for fish in this recipe, so I’m just as guilty of type-casting. But it’s still a step up from just a pasta substitute. Any step in the right direction is progress, right?

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However, spaghetti squash has the pefect texture for plant-based meat substitutes, and it surprises me that it isn’t used more often. Without actually researching it, I’d guess it’s a lot more nutritious than jackfruit and healthier than manufactured mock meats.  Spaghetti squash gets a bad rap for being difficult–like other hard squashes that need to be peeled and deseeded. But it’s super easy to work with–no microwave required. Just put the whole thing in a 375-400 degree oven on a baking sheet and leave it for an hour.

I let it cool overnight and then split in half. It’s so tender you can even use a dull knife. (I kid. There’s no dull knives in my kitchen. Don’t use a dull knife.)

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It’s really easy to scoop the seeds out and peel the flesh right from the skin this way. Also, by roasting it whole, it brings out the subtle, uniquely sweet flavor of this particular squash.

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For this recipe, I sliced the firmer part of the squash into thick slices and lined onto a parchment paper lined pan to cool more in the fridge–saving the soft, stringy parts closer to the seeds in a separate bowl to use in a different recipe later.

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I almost made this non-gluten-free (or normal, I suppose) by using regular beer. But then I noticed this hard apple cider at Trader Joe’s, where they sell individual bottles, so I picked up a couple.

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I made a batter with about a cup of chickpea flour and the whole granny smith bottle:

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Whisked together until nice and thick. Then dipped each slab of squash in until coated and fried in coconut oil:

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Set to dry on a paper towel lined plate.

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I really liked how the fritters turned out with the hard cider instead of beer. You could easily dust these with some cinnamon and powdered sugar for a yummy brunch treat or a greasy dessert.

I made tacos this time. But I am definitely seeing sweet squash fritters in the future.

Start with a warmed corn tortilla:

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Add chipolte mayo:

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As many fritters as you can fit:

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Pickled brussel sprout slaw, ginger beets, and turmeric onions:

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And…Baja style vegan tacos!

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